Matt Stell’s “Prayed for You” has turned into country’s latest love ballad that every people in love could relate to. It is Stell’s debut single and appears on his debut extended play Everywhere but On.
But did you know that whenever Stell himself sings it, he embraces a different message? To the star on the rise, the song says, “If you persevere long enough, good things happen.”
The Song Became Its Own Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
“Prayed for You” was written by Matt Stell alongside his manager and publisher, Ash Bowers, and talented songwriter Allison Veltz. It tells the story of someone grateful for receiving more than they possibly think they deserve.
Written that way, the song has become its own self-fulfilling prophecy. After spending several years honing his songwriting and performing skills, Stell took the Nashville plunge in 2014. It was Stell’s aim “to sign a publishing deal to write songs and make little weird records of my own. That was the path I saw.”
But two years have passed by, still, there were no opportunities in sight for the young singer. So Matt Stell decided to spend a month on a medical mission trip to Haiti and hatched a Plan B: medical school.
He was actually six weeks away from making his move to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and enroll in the Harvard University Extension School’s pre-med program when he finally got a record deal. He caught the attention of Bowers, who signed him to a deal. Immediately, Plan A was back in play.
A year later, he sat down with Veltz and Bowers to co-write, “Prayed for You.” It was actually Veltz who came up with the idea first. Days before she met the man she’d eventually marry, she believed their connection was the result of her fervent prayer.
She came into the songwriting session with a snippet of lyrics that ended up to be the chorus’ last lines: “It’s hard to imagine, bigger than I could fathom. I didn’t know you from Adam, but I prayed for you.”
From there, the trio started writing the song backward and tried to infuse it with their own experiences. “So we sort of used that as a point of departure,” Stell recalled. “And we wrote a song about a character that’s a lot like me that’s way luckier than he deserves, not only in relationships but just in life in general.”
Stell also revealed that the first verse talking about, “I’ve never been one to ask for help. If I need a mountain moved, I’d move it myself,” is “sort of been my M.O.”
He said, “It can be good to have that mindset, but it’s also important to understand that no one ever gets anywhere on their own and that there’s so much luck involved with anything and so much circumstance involved, and all you can do is just be prepared for when it happens.”
“That still rings really true because I wrote that song before all this popped off,” he added. “So that [line] becomes truer and truer every day. I think about songs in terms of characters, and the guy in “Prayed For You” was very similar to me.”
A Wide Range Of Interpretations Of “Prayed For You”
Matt Stell has discovered from social-media comments and meet-and-greet chats, that his listeners have a wide range of interpretations of who or even what exactly was prayed for.
“A lot of times it will be a relationship,” he said, “but sometimes it’s dealing with family stuff or stuff at work, having kids, completing something difficult, like school or a promotion. The fact that folks have identified that and latched on to it, I’ve thought, is pretty special.”
Since then, Matt Stell’s career has taken off, giving him the life he’s been working toward since moving to Nashville five years ago. “This is the dream,” the Arkansas native told PEOPLE. “Getting to do radio shows and travel the country because people want to hear a song that I wrote and sing — it’s just absolutely a dream come true.”
“Prayed for You” peaked No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart and was certified Platinum by the RIAA in September 2019. Make sure to watch Matt Stell’s breathtaking performance of “Prayed for You” below.